A fresh faced Nicki Minaj covers the latest issue of The Fader Magazine. The rapper sat with writer Carrie Battan to discuss guarding her personal life, growing relationship with Lil Wayne, and much more. Released online this morning, check out photos from the spread and interview excerpts below.

“I think early on in my career, I was… I was… just a little bit crazy,” she says, lightly smacking her chewing gum. “I took everything personally. That’s just not good, and it’s not healthy.” These days, she works hard to keep herself in check. “I think one of my best attributes now, as a businesswoman and an artist and a professional person, is being able to think before I speak,” she adds. “I’ve learned that everything I think doesn’t necessarily need to be stated.”

On her alleged comments on Iggy Azalea at the BET Awards:

By the time of our interview, Nicki has clearly spent some time thinking about the speech, and she’s got her spiel prepared. “My point of saying what I said was that women need to have a perspective,” she starts off. “If we’re out here saying that we’re so confident, and we’re so this and so that, but we don’t even trust ourselves to write down our own thoughts and spit it on a beat?” She’s getting ignited, her volume picking up. “It just doesn’t add up.” Then she launches into a verbal love letter to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill: “I knew those were Lauryn’s words, and it made me fall in love with her mind.” The morning after our interview, she repeats the sentiment in a series of tweets, which are immediately snapped up by blogs looking to package the incident as a feud.

via The Fader